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Poll Official Found with EVMs at TMC Leader’s House, Suspended

Poll Official Found with EVMs at TMC Leader’s House, Suspended

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NEW DELHI, Apr 6: A polling official in West Bengal was found at a TMC leader’s house, who he claimed was his relative, with four EVM and VVPAT machines. The official Tapan Sarkar was instantly suspended by the Election Commission of India.

The ECI said the seals of the EVM and VVPAT machines were not broken but still the machines were not being used for the elections on Tuesday. Sarkar was deputed officer for Howrah’s Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar.

A senior official said the incident that happened in Tulsiberia village in the Uluberia Uttar assembly constituency, came to light when villagers spotted a vehicle with an Election Commission sticker outside the house of the TMC leader and started protesting.

Sarkar has claimed that he with the EVMs and VVPATs had reached the area very late and found the polling booth closed, following which he decided to spend the night at his relative’s residence as he could not find any “safe place” to stay. The “relative” happened to be a local Trinamool Congress leader.

A huge team of central forces had to be deployed in the area as the locals protested, alleging malpractices. Even the Block Development Officer was gheraoed when he had reached the spot to pacify the crowd.

The BJP candidate for the seat Chiran Bera alleged that the incident was part of the TMC’s plan to rig the elections, a charge denied by the ruling party.

The BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “This is an old habit of the TMC. They have been caught red-handed and it shows what they are up to.”

Elsewhere in West Bengal, the TMC claimed that its candidate for the Arambagh seat Sujata Mondol Khan was “chased out of a polling booth” when the polling was on in her constituency allegedly by the “BJP goons.” The party claimed that a security personal was also injured in the attack.

Sujata accused the BJP of creating chaos and threatening Trinamool supporters in Arambagh amid the voting. The BJP has denied the allegation.

“They have inflicted serious injury on our Scheduled Caste candidate Sujata, when she visited a booth. They also hit another candidate in Khanakul. In Canning East, security forces prevented our nominee Shaukat Mollah from entering a booth. There had been numerous such instances of attack on our candidates, party workers across the state,” the TMC chief and the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleged at a rally in Alipurduar district.

“At booth no 45 in Batanal, despite pressing the symbol of TMC, the vote is going for the BJP. I believe that I will get the blessings of the people. In Arandi, our workers have been beaten up. They (BJP) are thinking that by creating violence, they will get the Arambagh seat. They are mistaking. I am the kind of person who does not fear death,” she said.

In another part of Hooghly district, a woman was murdered early this morning. While the BJP claims she was murdered by Trinamool “goons,” Bengal’s ruling party has denied any role in the murder. The woman’s son is reportedly a BJP worker.

(Manas Dasgupta)

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